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Fifth Street Play

The poker mathematics fact which should known about fifth street in razz is that a four-card bicycle or six low is a definite favorite over a rough nine made.

Is more than a 6-to-5 favorite over

Based on the cards that are out, a smooth draw may even be favored over a rough eight and a rough eight which is generally bit a favorite against one smooth draw is a money underdog against two smooth draws. This paradox is already mentioned earlier. For example, if you have a hand that will be outdrawn by your rival 49 percent of the time, you should bet against him as you are 51-to-49 favorite. However, if you are against two rivals both of whom have a 49 percent of the time. Thus, you are a 5-to-2 underdog against two rivals who are almost even money against you individually and if you put your money against both of them you are only getting 2-to-1. This situation occurs often in razz and lowball draw poker games, although it can occasionally happen in high games.

Now we shall see how to play on fifth street in razz in a specific way. If you find yourself with two bad ones showing against a player with three good cards, it is almost never correct to go any further. In other words, if you had

And he has

Only bets on third street and fourth street could possibly justify you going any further with the hand. Similarly if you have good cards showing and he has two bad cards showing it is an automatic bet even if you have a hidden two pair. As mentioned earlier, if one person has a three-card hand and the other has what appears to be a four-card hand it is a normally to fold for the three-card hand. Only a very high suspicion that the four-card hand has paired or a lot of money in the pot together with live cards, would justify chasing from this point. The betting is generally automatic. The four-card hand would bet whether it was you or your rival and the three-card hand should virtually always fold.

Three-card hands against three-card hands on fifth poker street are not specifically common or significant. The better three-card hand should usually bet. Notice that

Is definite favorite over

So if everybody has really bad cards on fifth street the highest card you have assumes more importance.

A four-card hand against another four-card hand should always be bet if there is any chance your rival has paired up; so if you have a K-7-5 showing and in fact have a four-card seven, you should certainly bet into another K-7-5 unless you are sure that he has not paired up, in which case you might to check. If he bets, there is no good reason to raise unless your four-card hand (because of the smallness of it or the cards that are out) is clearly better than his. If you have a four-card hand but have paired up and your rival seems like he has a four-card hand you should occasionally try to bluff in this situation. If you are first you should check and fold if he bets and if he is first and bets you should generally fold.

The situation where you have a four-card hand, in other words, three good cards showing against a rival who has only two good cards showing is reasonably automatic betting situation. However, if your hand includes an 8 or 9 showing you should check if he has bike or six draw, especially if he is a player who knows that a bike draw favored over a rough nine. If there is some chance that he has a pair you should almost always bet, even you fear his raise if he has not paired.

The only time where we suggest a check in this situation is where you have two hidden pair and you are sure that he won't fold. It is profitable to try to get a free card at this point and expect that sixth street comes good to you and bad to him where you might now try to steal. However, if you have only one pair it is difficult to bet even if your four-card actual hand is somewhat worse than his four-card hand. For instance you have 8-7-5 showing and he has

Even if you have a pair and thus have a four-card eight-seven to his likely four-card smooth eight, it is obligatory that to bet. This is correct even if you know that he has not paired and will surely call you. The reason for this, as discussed in The Theory of Poker, is that it is very important to make him afraid that you have an eight-seven made already. Now if you catch a small card on sixth street and he catches another bad card he will fold fearing that he is drawing dead in that you may have made a seven low whereas you either made two pair or an eight-seven low. In each of the case, had he known this he would have called and would have been correct to do so. Thus your bet on fifth street has caused a possible mistake given that it comes good to you and bad to him on sixth street . This is another example of developing situations that may result into your rival making a mistake. It occurs frequently in razz.

One can simplify the rule to be that if you are first with what appears to be the stronger hand, and your hand would be good enough to call a bet, it is better to bet yourself and add the deception that may be used to your advantage on the later street. The time to check a one pair but made hand into an apparent four-card hands is if you are up against a very strong four-card hand that may raise if you bet. So if you pair 7s, you can check


especially if you rarely check a made 8-7-5 into a K-A-2. If you do check your 8-7-5 into his K-A-2 and you do have a pair of 7s, it is a bad call from your side if he bets and you know that he will only bet a smooth four-card hand.

Most of the fifth street situations are reasonably automatic and do not lend themselves to imaginative play. The main situation that does have a lot of play in it is where both you and your rival have three good cards showing. The basic rule to follow is The Theory of poker rules that the better and more perceptive your rival is the more you gain by tricking him. The weaker he is the more reason to play your hand straightforwardly. Conversely, very strong rivals may be best tricked by playing your hand straightforwardly as they won't expect if from you. Suppose you have

And they have a

If you have a strong hand such as bicycle it is generally best to check-raise weak rivals and very strong rivals while betting into average rivals. The very strong rivals may get suspicious of your raise, reasoning, "Why will he give his hand away this early?" And the weak rivals won't reason anything and just pay you off. The average rivals at this point might worry about a check-raise but not worry that much if you come right out betting. Sometimes, you might check and call on fifth street expecting to catch a bad one on sixth street and getting your raise in on sixth street. Unfortunately, the question on how to play a bicycle on the first five cards is not something you will often come upon. The reasonable situation would be where you have three good cards showing but actually only have an eight low with the 8 in the hole. A play that is often good is to raise when your rival bets even if you suspect that he has beaten you. Now if you both catch bad cards on sixth street and he checks you may check it right back. It has cost you the same amount as calling him twice and it gives you an extra chance to make more money if you catch a good card games. Thus by playing it this way you might get him to fold a good hand on sixth poker street if you catch another baby after raising on fifth street . This baby could very well have paired you and you are having with an eight low and he is throwing away a seven low thinking that this sixth street card almost had to make you a monster even if you didn't have one already.

If you have paired on fifth street but still have a four-card hand and your pair is hidden you should generally bet if your three upcards are not higher than his three. However, if you have paired and your upcards are higher than the three he has showing, you have at best a marginal call. Based on the cards that are out and the amount of money in the pot, folding would not be correct.

Remember that if you have a bike draw or a six draw, your hand is favored over his if he has a rough nine. It is close if he has a rough eight. If you are up against the player who will bet

Even if he has paired, you should raise with a good four-card hand. This is because you are either raising as a slight underdog when he has his eight made or as a major favorite when he is betting a pair. The combination makes the raise very profitable. If you appear to have a four-card hand but have just paired on fifth street, for example

you should just throw away your hand. However, against those players who are scared of your board you might call or even raise when you have paired in the expectation that you will catch a baby on sixth street and win it right there. When you can make this play only comes with the experience of knowing your rivals.

Generally, fifth street has many opportunities for tricky plays and traps. You can slow-play a big hand or over-play a weak hand. Keep in mind that these opportunities only arise when you both appear to have about equal hands showing. If you check


Only a maniac won't realize that you should have a big hand and are trying to suck him into a later round. Slow-playing a big hand made on five into an obvious four-card hand will not work, except against inexperienced players. These tricks and traps should be tried against good players when the hand appears to be fairly even. This is the major drawback to razz. Most situations are completely automatic and you have no alternative to play them that way when they come up.

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